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What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?, Directed by Robert Aldrich

Warner Bros., October 31, 1962 (US)

Screenplay By: Lukas Heller, based on the novel by Henry Farrell

Starring: Bette Davis and Joan Crawford

Marty McDonald
(Wesley Addy): What do they make monsters like this for?

By the time anyone will have a chance to have read this confession, I will be long gone to a secret place where nobody will ever find me.

To say that I was intoxicated by the pictures would be a gross understatement. Even when I did manage to put them aside, they remained stuck in my head like bad memories. Sleep offered no respite. I’d soon find myself waking up and reaching toward the nightstand where I had put the pictures back down before shutting my eyes to the world. There was no escape. I couldn’t even eat breakfast or dinner without that awful magazine open on the table before me.

Baby Jane Hudson (Bette Davis): Enjoying yourself? (Turning off the TV that is showing a movie staring Blanche.)

Blanche Hudson (Joan Crawford): Jane, what are you doing? I was … I was watching.

Jane: Then you’re an idiot!

It was impossible to hide from the truth. I was morbidly obese. I could no longer leave my house in the Hills for fear of being seen, for fear of a fresh wave of pictures surfacing next. Although it can hardly matter now, I refuse to reveal the circumstances that led to my condition, but suffice it to say, the weight gain was beyond my control.

The day after they ran the story containing the wretched photographs, I contacted the reporter and asked him point blank if he understood the effect it would have on my career. Why I hoped for compassion from such a man is beyond me. I suppose it stems from having been raised in another time and place.

The cackle of his laughter stabbed me through the phone. How could I have been such a fool to think a monster like this could ever have exhibited a lick of compassion or basic human decency? My pain and humiliation were his meal ticket. Nothing else mattered. The funny thing is, even now after all that has happened, I still consider myself to be a reasonable woman, but I suppose we all have a breaking point. And mine came after he ran the follow-up story. That was when I could simply not contain my rage any longer.

Mrs. Bates (Anna Lee): Jane Hudson makes me so mad I could kill her!

What could anything let alone the truth matter now? I was apparently a raging alcoholic with a drug addiction to boot. I read tales of my abusiveness to family, friends, directors, as well as my peers. I read gory details of wild binges and lavish parties.

Words cannot express the hatred I had towards that reporter for what he had done to me.

Blanche: You miserable bitch.

I contacted him once more, asking why he was so hell-bent on destroying my life let alone any hope I had left at rekindling my career. I explained that if I had not suffered from the unfortunate weight gain to begin with (due to a medical condition that I did not dare reveal to him), he would not have been able to profit from my misfortune in the first place and certainly would not have been able to follow it up with the subsequent slander. Nobody would have believed it.

Blanche: You wouldn’t be able to do these awful things to me if I wasn’t still in this chair.

Jane: But you are Blanche! You are in that chair!

Needless to say, I was blacklisted. Nobody would hire me now. I felt utterly useless. Which isn’t to say I didn’t know what I had to do next. The hardest part was obtaining the reporter’s home address. After that, it was easy.

And now it is I that shall share a secret about him. If you only could have seen him reduced as he was to a man begging, begging for his life. He tried everything which I suppose is exactly what you do when you are looking into the barrel of a gun. He even had the nerve to say to me, “I have always been one of your biggest fans.”

Jane: You mean all this time we could have been friends?